Saturday, August 17, 2013

Unity: The Bond of Revival

An audio overview of the lesson by Raul Diaz.

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Below is the script:

Unity: The Bond of Revival
Memory Text: “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to have a walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3, NKJV).
The title of our lesson seems to be saying that there is a bond that is created between those who go through revival.  Like the bond that exists between people who go through similar experiences or were part of a group for many years.  Is this what the Bible is talking about?  Or is the concept that the Bible is presenting a lot deeper and far reaching than this?
The author of our lesson states that, “The “oneness,” or unity, of the disciples prepared their hearts for the reception of the fullness of the Holy Spirit’s power.”  In other words, the requirement for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is “Oneness” or unity.  This is pretty much what is taught in our denomination.  But, is it accurate?  (Remember that the builders of the tower of Babel were united in purpose and mission.)  Let us read the verse used in our lesson to support this thought,
“Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:32, 33, NKJV).
The author states about this passage, “This passage links the disciples having ‘one heart and one soul’ with their ‘great power’ in witnessing.”  Notice that what is linking the two sentences in the passage is the conjunction “and”; not “so”.  The word “and” establishes correlation; not causality.  This means that while the “Oneness” and the “Power” are associated, one does not cause the other.  What this is implying is that where you see “Oneness” you will see “Power”, and vice versa.  Where you see dissension you will not see power; and vice versa.   In fact, where there is dissension self is exalted, which by implication means: no agape.  Since, the Holy Spirit is Whom sheds abroad the love of God (Romans 5: 5), that means where there is dissension and no power there is no HoIy Spirit.  Could it be then that what causes the oneness is the Holy Spirit?  Are there any conditions for HE to do this?  John 17: 20 – 24 may give us an answer.  Let us read it, 
John 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
John 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
John 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
John 17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

Notice how Christ describes the oneness.  Jesus states that the oneness between He and the Father is abiding: I in You, and You in Me.  In John 15, Christ told the disciples to abide in Him, so they would bare fruit.  We know that it is by the Holy Spirit that Christ abides or dwells in us.  So, the fruit we bare is the Spirit’s.  The Holy Spirit begins to abide in us when we give Him permission.  That is revival.  What happens in revival?  Repentance!  A change of mind and heart brought about by the Holy Spirit when we hear and believe God’s Word. 
How was this displayed with the disciples?  There was a definite change in them.  Before the crucifixion they were fighting for supremacy.  That ceased after the 10 days in the upper chamber.  Ellen White describes the events in the following quote,
“After Christ's ascension, His disciples--men of varied talents and capabilities--assembled in an upper chamber to pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit. In this room 'all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication.' They made thorough work of repentance by confessing their own sins. Upon them was laid no burden to confess one another's sins. Settling all differences and alienations, they were of one accord, and prayed with unity of purpose for ten days, at the end of which time 'they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.'  {7MR 94.4} 

The disciples laid aside all their personal ambitions.  Now instead of fighting, they were convicted by the Holy Spirit to die to self.  The words of Paul became a reality in them: “…be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,” and to not think more highly than he ought to think of himself (Romans 12: 2 – 3).  What causes the oneness is also what causes the power: the Holy Spirit abiding in a heart completely surrendered to Christ.  Christ is waiting to do the same with us.

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